He missed two games after death of brother
BY STEVE KORTE
News-Democrat

ST. LOUIS - Defensive end Leonard Little said he was glad to be back with his St. Louis Rams teammates after missing two games while on bereavement leave.

"It's great to be back among the fellas," Little said. "The last two weeks, the guys have been giving me a call and giving me an update on how everything was going. So it's nice to be back around these guys and playing with these guys."

Little refused to respond to any questions about his younger brother, Jermaine, who was shot to death Oct. 17 in Harriman, Tenn.

Little traveled to his mom's house in Asheville, N.C., the day after the shooting.

Though the Rams' games weren't televised in his region and his mother doesn't own a computer, Little said he managed to keep track of the Rams' wins over the New Orleans Saints and the Jacksonville Jaguars via the Internet function on his cellular telephone.

"I was getting on my cell phone and hitting refresh with every play," Little said. "That's all I could do. When something would happen and came over my cell phone, I would get happy or get mad.

"I was glad that modern technology has come that far that I could track the game on my cell."

Little said he wasn't amazed that the Rams beat the Saints and Jaguars without quarterback Marc Bulger, wide receivers Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce and himself.

"It doesn't surprise me that we won those two games because we are the type of team that when we're down, we're going to try to fight and scratch our way back into it," Little said.

Little lost some weight because of a lack of appetite after his brother's death, but he said he's gained it all back in the last week since rejoining the Rams.

"I'm fine," Little said. "I'm back up to my playing weight (261 pounds). We had last week to lift weights and work out."

Little said he didn't think conditioning would be a problem for him Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.

"It's kind of hard being out for two weeks, but we have a system where if I get tired, I come out anyway," Little said. "I'm sure (defensive line) Coach (Bill) Kollar is conscious of that."

Little, who has 55.5 sacks over the last six seasons, will be trying to get pressure on Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who threw for 316 yards and two touchdowns in the Seahawks' 37-31 win over the Rams on Oct. 9 at Edward Jones Dome.

"He can scramble," Little said of Hasselbeck. "That's one thing that people don't realize. He is a big guy who can scramble. He's strong. He also can throw the ball on the run."

There were reports that Little was emotionally devastated over the death of his brother, which occurred almost seven years to the day that the defensive end was involved in a drunken driving accident that killed a St. Louis County women.

Asked how he was feeling, Little said: " I'm doing well. The only thing I can do is go out and help my teammates win and help this team get better. I don't want to interrupt anything that has been going on the past two weeks. The only thing I want to do is help this team win."

Little's spirits were boosted last Friday when his No. 30 jersey was retired at Asheville High School.

"I gave them a little pep talk in the locker room before the game," Little said.

Little's speech must have worked because Asheville routed North Buncombe 43-7 to complete an unbeaten regular season.